On July 2nd, Everton confirmed they have signed Niels Nkounkou and given him a three-year contract. The 19-year-old arrived at Goodison Park on a free transfer from Marseille.
Foot Mercato reported on Thursday that the opportunity of working under Carlo Ancelotti convinced the left-back to join the Toffees.
It was also explained the Ligue 1 side wanted to offer the teenager a contract, but he turned it down.
The aforementioned claims have now been backed by the player’s agent, Yvan Le Mée, during an interview with Foot Mercato. The representative first detailed why his client pushed for a move away from Marseille.
“At Marseille, you have Amavi, Rocchia, Sakai, Sarr and even Khaoui who played in the left back position,” he said.
“Niels did not get a minute to play. We therefore considered that Niels’ chances of playing at Marseille are slim. Especially since Marseille is looking for a left-back to compete with Amavi. This is the reason we chose Everton.”
Yvan Le Mée further stressed the sporting plan proposed by the French club wasn’t convincing for the defender and his future development.
“What the club proposed was fine [with regards to finances]. The problem was of a sporting nature. We were asked to sign and go out on loan. It was of no interest to us,” Nkounkou’s agent explained.
“We had the possibility of going to Juventus or Leipzig, but these clubs did not present the possibility of arriving quickly in first team. The choice of the Nkounkou clan is purely sporting.
“We did not want to find ourselves in the situation similar to that of Alexandre Phliponeau, who after two years of professional contract is in the reserves. Unfortunately, the player’s interest was not to stay at Marseille.”
Everton currently have Lucas Digne and Leighton Baines as the two recognised left-backs in the squad.
Yvan Le Mée stressed the prospect of being Digne’s understudy, and a conversation with Ancelotti, convinced Nkounkou to join the Premier League side.
“Today there is a strong holder, it’s Lucas Digne, and there is Leighton Baines who extended, but plays less. If Niels is strong enough, he could be Digne’s understudy. If he’s not strong and he has trouble adapting in England, he will be third choice in his position,” Yvan Le Mée added.
“Today, the possibility is stronger for Niels to be on the pitch at Everton than at Marseille. There is also a coach named Carlo Ancelotti who called the player, who spoke to him, and who knows the player’s potential.
“He says that by working with the player, he can make him a top player. It is also important for us to have a coach who wants the player. If we add the club’s infrastructure and the next arrival of the new stadium, the project presented is attractive.”